“I always wanted to be my own boss and have always had a strong work ethic. In 2001 my husband had an accident at work which affected both our working lives. He was made redundant whilst recovering and it was very difficult for him to get another job. I decided to try and make a business from my hobby so that it could support us both.” Read Nikky Hall’s story below
Tell us about your business…
I design artwork in digital format or as rubber stamps for the papercraft industry – crafters can make their own handmade greeting cards and home decor projects etc using my designs. I started the business in May 2009 with one product and no money whatsoever, whilst working full-time. I sent a proposal to a TV shopping channel which specialised in Craft products and was accepted – 9 weeks after starting the business I was on TV demonstrating and selling my one little product to the world! We have never looked back since, have served over 11,000 customers on our website and I regularly appear on TV each month. I absolutely love my job!
What is a day in the life of you like?
We now have an office, but I still like to work from home. As my job is to create and design, I find this is a good working environment for me and I can design as and when I feel inspired – sometimes that can be at 1, 2 or 3am! Kris looks after manufacturing, packing and shipping the orders, but I also look after maintaining the website, product design, marketing and everything else. It’s hectic and some days it’s like spinning plates but I really wouldn’t have it any other way.
What have been your biggest challenges so far with running your business?
Starting the business in the first place and the first 4 months whilst I was also working full-time. We had just closed a retail shop because of the recession so it felt like we’d lost everything and there was no hope, we were clinging onto our house by our fingernails. We closed the shop on Monday, Kris’s Grandad passed away the next day and by Friday I was in a product meeting with the shopping channel having taken a few days off work. It all happened like a whirlwind, but I knew it was the right thing to do at the time.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I am a great believer in fate and making your own way in life – I knew that this was too great an opportunity to pass up on and was determined to give it my all. I felt humiliated at the failure of the shop and needed to prove to myself that with a bit of hard work and determination I could succeed – albeit down a different path.
What advice would you give to other business owners?
Be true to yourself and strive to be the best you can be. I can’t rest if I think I’ve done a poor job of something – I know I can’t do any more for my customers and everything I do has their needs as the core focus. Great customer service is essential to any good business. Customers are much more savvy these days – if you disappoint them you won’t see them for dust.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I try to think of new products constantly and different ways of doing things which add value to what we do without a big price tag. It’s really important to keep up with your market and I always try to be at the forefront or ahead of design trends – I like to lead a trend, not follow! I’m also incredibly passionate about what I do – I think this comes across in the products and is why people buy into the range and become avid collectors.
What’s your favourite quote?
Oprah Winfrey sums it up for me… Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.
Who inspires you?
Kris, my husband. He always believes in me no matter what. When I start to doubt myself I try to remind myself why I started it all in the first place, which was for him (but I have to admit I couldn’t have a better job in the world!).
Do you have a business philosophy?
It’s easy to be swayed by what other seemingly successful companies are doing but I keep half an eye on them whilst focusing on what I want to do and I’m constantly looking ahead. We have a business formula which works for us because we are unique and give our customers what they want, but that means we need to constantly change and develop too.
Get in touch…
Twitter Name: NikkyHall1
Facebook Fanpage: Polkadoodledandies